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RULES ON ABSENTEE VOTING

1. Introduction
Absentee voting refers to the process by
which qualified Filipinos abroad may be
allowed to vote under a system the Congress
provides. It is also a system wherein public
officials and employees are allowed to vote
in their place of work because in the
performance of their election duties they are
stationed in places other than the place
where they are registered voters.
2. Brief Discussion
There are two types of absentee voting, one
is local absentee voting and the other one is
Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV).

In local absentee voting, public officials and


employees, in the performance of their
election duties, stationed in places other
than the place where they are registered
voters of are allowed to vote in their place of
work.

On the other hand, Overseas Absentee


Voting" refers to the process by which
qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad
exercise their right to vote.
Local Absentee Voting
Section 1 of COMELEC Resolution No. 10003
provides that local absentee voting, as provided
for under Executive Order No. 157 and Republic
Act No. 7166, refers to a system of voting whereby
government officials and employees, including
members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
(AFP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP),
who are duly registered voters are allowed to vote
for the positions of President, Vice-President,
Senators and Party-List Representatives in places
where they are not registered voters but where
they are temporarily assigned to perform election
duties on election day , or in case of media voters,
they will not be able to vote due to the
performance of their functions in covering and
reporting on the elections.
Local Absentee Voting
Section 2 of COMELEC Resolution No. 10003
provides that local absentee voting may be
availed of by the following:
a. government officials and employees;
b. members of the PNP;
c. members of the AFP; and
d. members of the media, media practitioners
including their technical and support staff who
are actively engaged in the pursuit of information
gathering and reporting or distribution, in any
manner or form, including, but not limited to the
following:
1. Print Journalists;
2. Television Journalists;
3. Photo Journalists;
4. Online Journalists;
5. Radio Journalists;
6. Documentary makers;
7. Television/Radio Production;
Local Absentee Voting
Section 10 of COMELEC Resolution No. 10003
provides that local absentee voting shall be
disapproved on the following grounds:
a. the names of the applicants are not found in the
National List of Registered Voters (NLRV);
b. the application was filed out of time;
c. the application is not under oath;
d. the application is only a photocopy /facsimile
copy; or
e. the Certification portion of the certified list is not
duly accomplished.
Overseas Absentee Voting
The Overseas Absentee Voting Act, officially
known as R.A. No. 9189, is a law in the
Philippines passed on February 13, 2003 which
provides for a system for citizens of the
Philippines currently residing or working outside
of the Philippines to vote in an election. This act
was a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2104 and
House Bill No. 3570, the first draft was authored
in congress on July 22, 2002. The act is
implemented by the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) with the help of the Department of
Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Section 4 of R.A. No. 9189 provides that all


citizens of the Philippines abroad, who are not
otherwise disqualified by law, at least eighteen
(18) years of age on the day of elections, may vote
for president, vice-president, senators and party-
list representatives.
Overseas Absentee Voting
Qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad who
failed to register under R.A. No. 8189, otherwise
known as the "The Voters Registration Act of
1996", may personally apply for registration with
the Election Registration Board of the city or
municipality where they were domiciled
immediately prior to their departure from the
Philippines, or with the representative of the
COMELEC at the Philippine embassies,
consulates and other foreign service
establishments that have jurisdiction over the
locality where they temporarily reside.
Overseas Absentee Voting
Section 5 of R.A. No. 9189 provides that the
following shall be disqualified from voting under
this Act:

1. Those who have lost their Filipino citizenship in


accordance with Philippine laws;

2. Those who have expressly renounced their


Philippine citizenship and who have pledged
allegiance to a foreign country;

3. Those who have committed and are convicted in a


final judgment by a court or tribunal of an offense
punishable by imprisonment of not less than one
(1) year, including those who have committed and
been found guilty of Disloyalty as defined under
Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code;
Overseas Absentee Voting
Section 5 of R.A. No. 9189 provides that the
following shall be disqualified from voting under
this Act:

4. An immigrant or a permanent resident who is


recognized as such in the host country, unless he/she
executes, upon registration, an affidavit prepared for
the purpose by the COMELEC declaring that he/she
shall resume actual physical permanent residence in
the Philippines not later than three (3) years from
approval of his/her registration under this Act.

5. Any citizen of the Philippines abroad previously


declared insane or incompetent by competent
authority in the Philippines or abroad, as verified by
the Philippine embassies, consulates or foreign
service establishments concerned, unless such
competent authority subsequently certifies that such
person is no longer insane or incompetent.
Overseas Absentee Voting
Section 8 of R.A. No. 9189 provides for the
documentary requirements for registration for
every Filipino registrant which are as follows:
a. A valid Philippine passport. In the absence of a
valid passport, a certification of the Department
of Foreign Affairs that it has reviewed the
appropriate documents submitted by the
applicant and found them sufficient to warrant
the issuance of a passport, or that the applicant is
a holder of a valid passport but is unable to
produce the same for a valid reason;
b. Accomplished registration form prescribed by the
COMELEC containing the mandatory
information;
c. In the case of immigrants and permanent
residents not otherwise disqualified to vote under
this Act, an affidavit declaring the intention to
resume actual physical permanent residence in
the Philippines not later than three (3) years after
approval of his/her registration as an overseas
absentee voter under this Act. Such affidavit shall
also state that he/she has not applied for
citizenship in another country.
3. Jurisprudence
Macalintal vs COMELEC
[G.R. No. 157013. July 10, 2003]

Issue No. 1:
Whether or not Section 5(d) of R.A. No. 9189 violates Art. V, Sec. 1 of the
Constitution.

Ruling:
No, Sec 5(d) is valid. The Court has relied on the discussions of the
members of the Constitutional Commission on the topics of absentee
voting and absentee voter qualification, in connection with Sec. 2, Art.
V of the Constitution, which reads:

“Sec. 2. The Congress shall provide a system for securing the secrecy
and sanctity of the ballot as well as a system for absentee voting by
qualified Filipinos abroad.”

It was clearly shown from the said discussions that the Constitutional
Commission intended to enfranchise as much as possible all Filipino
citizens abroad who have not abandoned their domicile of origin,
which is in the Philippines. The COMELEC even intended to extend
to young Filipinos who reach voting age abroad whose parents’
domicile of origin is in the Philippines, and consider them qualified as
voters for the first time. That Section 2 of Article V of the Constitution
is an exception to the residency requirement found in Section 1 of the
same Article was in fact the subject of debate when Senate Bill No.
2104, which later became R.A. No. 9189, was deliberated upon on the
Senate floor, further weakening petitioner’s claim on the
unconstitutionality of Section 5(d) of R.A. No. 9189.
3. Jurisprudence
Macalintal vs COMELEC
[G.R. No. 157013. July 10, 2003]

Issue No. 2:
Whether or not Section 18.5 of R.A. No. 9189 violates Art. VII, Sec. 4 of the
Constitution.

Ruling:
Yes, Section 18.5 is unconstitutional. Section 18.5 of R.A. No. 9189 is
far too sweeping that it necessarily includes the proclamation of the
winning candidates for the presidency and the vice-presidency,
granting merit to petitioner’s contention that said Section appears to
be repugnant to Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution only insofar
as said Section totally disregarded the authority given to Congress by
the Constitution to proclaim the winning candidates for the positions
of President and Vice-President.

Congress could not have allowed the COMELEC to usurp a power


that constitutionally belongs to it or, as aptly stated by petitioner, to
encroach “on the power of Congress to canvass the votes for President
and Vice-President and the power to proclaim the winners for the said
positions.”
3. Jurisprudence
Macalintal vs COMELEC
[G.R. No. 157013. July 10, 2003]

Issue No. 3:
Whether or not Section 25 of R.A. No. 9189 violates Art. IX-A, Sec. 1 of the
Constitution

Ruling:
Yes, Section 25 creating the JCOC is unconstitutional. The
Commission on Elections is a constitutional body. It is intended to
play a distinct and important part in our scheme of government. In
the discharge of its functions, it should not be hampered with
restrictions that would be fully warranted in the case of a less
responsible organization.

The Commission on Elections, because of its fact-finding facilities, its


contacts with political strategists, and its knowledge derived from
actual experience in dealing with political controversies, is in a
peculiarly advantageous position to decide complex political
questions.

The Court has no general powers of supervision over COMELEC


which is an independent body “except those specifically granted by
the Constitution,” that is, to review its decisions, orders and rulings.
In the same vein, it is not correct to hold that because of its
recognized extensive legislative power to enact election laws,
Congress may intrude into the independence of the COMELEC by
exercising supervisory powers over its rule-making authority. In line
with this, this Court holds that Section 25 of R.A. 9189 is
unconstitutional and must therefore be stricken off from the said law.
End